While visiting Italy, there are plenty of adrenaline-inducing activities on offer. Among the amusement parks scattered across the country you can expect adventure, relaxation, spectacular settings and educational fun.
Amusement parks can give a fun-filled twist to a holiday in Italy. Gardaland and Mirabilandia – both located in the North – are generally considered the heavyweights when it comes to themed attractions of international standing in Italy. However, other parks across the country boast equally impressive rides set amid imaginative, captivating worlds. Gems can be found among the lesser-known amusement parks too, which offer a mix of adventure, entertainment and education. And in summer, the waterparks even manage to tempt people away from the country’s famous beaches for a few hours.
Not far from Rome, MagicLand is the main amusement park in central and southern Italy. It has been open for a decade and is regularly renovated with new rides and attractions. The planetarium’s 25-meter-wide dome is one of the largest in Europe, while the main rides for thrill-seekers include a walk-through horror hotel, a drop tower, a magic-themed dark ride, and the ‘Shock’ launch rollercoaster. Children have a wide range of attractions to choose from, and the entertainment programme ranks high in originality. A VR time machine is among the latest attractions.
Via della Pace, 00038 Valmontone RM
AcquaPark Odissea 2000
Odissea 2000 originally launched as a small leisure area, as part of the Nausicaa Resort, backdropped by the Ionian sea of Calabria. Today it is among the most accomplished waterparks in Italy, whose reputation rests on a wide and compelling variety of attractions. A 23-meter free-fall called ‘Skyron Rocket’ was recently added to the range of waterslides, which also include the exceptionally long ‘Titano Roller’. Quieter, more relaxing pursuits are well covered too across the 27 attractions broadly catering to children, teenagers and adults.
Contrada Zolfara, 87067 Villaggio Nausicaa CS
Most kids in Italy are familiar with the mascot of Gardaland, a pleasant little dragon called Prezzemolo (Parsley). This iconic park is located just off the south-east shore of Lake Garda, covering an area twice as large as the original complex launched in 1975. Over the years, its themed areas have grown in number and sophistication, now including the ‘Kung Fu Panda Academy’, and ‘Peppa Pig Land’ for the youngest visitors. The top rides such as ‘Raptor’ and the free-fall rollercoaster ‘Oblivion’ offer thrilling experiences, while the shows and performances also enjoy an excellent reputation.
Via Derna, 4, 37014 Castelnuovo del Garda VR
Parco di Pinocchio
Walt Disney may have turned Pinocchio into the most famous marionette in the world, but this didactic park offers a more faithful approach to the original tale, which emanates from Italy. No location would be more suited than the Tuscan village of Collodi, so dear to writer Carlo Lorenzini that he used it as a pen name for his ‘Adventures of Pinocchio’ in 1881. An interactive path guides visitors through the episodes of the book, where the characters are depicted by vintage statues and installations. The activities include workshops and marionette shows, while a historic garden and a butterfly house provide different sceneries. Just like the novel, Parco di Pinocchio is aimed at children but contains plenty to fascinate adults too.
Via San Gennaro, 3, 51012 Collodi PT
Caribe Bay (set to reopen in 2021)
Caribe Bay offers a level of immersive experience rarely found elsewhere, which makes it one of the top waterparks both in Italy and Europe. Its most distinctive feature is a perfectly-reproduced Caribbean beach, where the waves break on the rocks and real white sand reaches into the pool. Its 27 attractions, both wet and dry, include a 42-meter-tall acrobatic slide, a spectacular slow ride through a Caribbean forest, a wave pool, bungee jumping and a suspended cable bridge. Themed areas such as the ‘Galleon’ host a range of live shows featuring acrobats and divers.
Via Michelangelo Buonarroti, 15/A, 30016 Lido di Jesolo VE
La Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi
Equal parts education and entertainment, La Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi promotes a playful approach to science for children and teenagers of up to 13 years of age. This large indoor space comprises around 50 installations, allocated across three themed areas according to the age range they target. Visitors get to explore a variety of scientific subjects through interactive and multimedia devices, as well as by engaging with workshops and live entertainment. La Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi is located in the old harbour of Genoa, next to Italy’s largest aquarium.
Via Magazzini del Cotone, Modulo 1 primo piano, 16128 Genova GE
Launched only a few years ago, Zoom Torino is today the most advanced biopark in Italy. Animals live in wide, open spaces which aim as best as possible to recreate their natural habitats, away from the cages of traditional zoos. Around 80 species can be observed at the park, providing an immersive experience across nine different dry environments. Two aquatic habitats are also reproduced, and visitors can swim large pools while watching penguins, hippos, rays, piranhas and tropical fish at a safe distance. A well-curated programme of talks and activities covers environmental topics and promotes the conservation projects run by the park.
Str. Piscina, 36, 10040 Cumiana TO
Mirabilandia launched in 1992 on the popular Riviera Romagnola, and it didn’t take long before it was established as one of the top amusement parks in Italy. The ‘Katun’ is considered one of the world’s best inverted rollercoasters, although many other options are available when it comes to extreme rides. The options for families and children is equally satisfying, alongside a wide programme of well-curated live shows. The quality and design of the themed areas has improved considerably in recent years to include a ‘Ducati World’ area celebrating the region’s motor culture.
SS16, km 162, 48125 Savio RA
A miniature Italy used to be this park’s main attraction, where visitors could walk through small-scale reproductions of 160 landmarks found across the country. Since 2007, a complete restyling has doubled the number. Themed areas inspired by popular cartoon characters have increased the appeal of the park, which offers around 40 attractions for children of all ages. Among a variety of settings, some of the rides are dedicated to the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, after whom the park was renamed. The original miniatures are still there and have been renovated, remaining one of the distinctive features of Leolandia.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 52, 24042 Capriate San Gervasio BG
Movieland is all about Hollywood settings and surprising attractions. Some of its rides stand out for originality, such as a Diabolik-themed inverted rollercoaster and the adrenaline-filled acrobatics aboard a 600-horsepower motorboat. There is a dinosaur jungle too, claimed to be the only one in the world where visitors can drive through by themselves. The quality of the shows lives up to the theme of the park, offering diverse entertainment for all. Movieland is part of a larger complex which also includes one of the best waterparks in Italy, and joint tickets are available.
Via Fossalta, 56, 37017 Lazise VR
Cavallino Matto has considerably increased its appeal over the past ten years, thanks to a well-curated range of attractions aimed at visitors of all ages. The stand-up rollercoaster will likely be the thrill-seekers’ first choice, but other rides offer excellent designs and there’s plenty of family-oriented entertainment. A 4D cinema and a programme of live shows are also available. Thick vegetation is a distinctive feature of this park. Cavallino Matto is considered one of the best amusement parks in Tuscany.
Via Po, 1, 57022 Marina di Castagneto Carducci LI
Città della Scienza
Located in a seaside district of Napoli, this interactive science museum is part of a foundation dedicated to scientific culture. In its workshops and exhibition spaces, children learn about science through direct experiences with nature and its phenomena, and the hands-on approach is likely to entice many adults too. Both temporary and permanent installations are hosted at the museum, as part of a wide-ranging programme of activities covering food and biodiversity, the submarine world, the human body and other subjects. Outdoor space and a planetarium are also available.
Via Coroglio, 57/104, 80124 Napoli NA
Carrisiland (set to reopen in 2021)
Surrounded by the Apulian countryside, Carrisiland is equal parts relaxation and entertainment. Its Acquapark takes centre stage in summer; a large complex where slides and other water attractions blend into Caribbean-inspired settings. The dry areas are open all year round. Folklore and fairytale-inspired scenery populates the Woodland, while other themed areas include the world of dinosaurs and the Far West. A farm with livestock introduces children to traditional lifestyles, and there’s a dedicated area offering insight into the history of banditry in Southern Italy.
Contrada Curtipitrizzi, 72020 Cellino San Marco BR
Etnaland (set to reopen in 2021)
Sicily’s top amusement park sits at the foot of Mount Etna. It started as an ambitious waterpark backdropped by the island’s famous volcano, and then doubled up as a theme park too. The two sections are open at different times but share some of their best rides, such as a spectacular log flume and a 30-meter-tall water slide. The attractions exclusive to each section cover every category of entertainment, from the extreme and adventurous to family fun. A ticket to either section includes entrance to an educational area dedicated to dinosaurs and prehistory.
Contrada Agnelleria, 95032 Belpasso CT
Located in the south of Rome, Luneur Park used to be a permanent funfair with tickets paid per individual ride. After a few years of inactivity, it reopened in 2016 as a renovated amusement park which mainly caters towards children and families. The ‘Splash Zone’ includes a large swimming pool and water slides for summer playtime, while the amusement area offers a range of classic rides for children. The two sections are open at different times, and tickets are sold separately.
Via delle Tre Fontane, 100, 00144 Roma RM
In harmony with the surrounding nature, this adventure park makes for a fun-filled retreat while touring the Central Italian region of Umbria. The treetop treks are all about ropes, ziplines and Tibetan bridges, where visitors can choose their itinerary depending on age and skill. Other activities include airsoft and rafting, while the amusement area offers mini golf, archery, tubing rides, pedal karts and other attractions. Those who simply wish to explore the local wildlife can enter the park for free, without having access to the attractions and activities. Activo Park is located next to the medieval village of Scheggino.
Via Valcasana, 06040 Scheggino PG
Italia in Miniatura
This educational park showcases the heritage of Italy through over 250 detailed miniatures depicting sites from across the country. The collection includes both iconic and lesser-known landmarks, as well as a large reproduction of Venice’s Canal Grande where visitors can float aboard real boats. A small section extends the journey to the whole of Europe too, but the miniatures aren’t all that this park has to offer. Adventurous attractions such as a log ride and a multi-sensory cinema are also available, and the Science Luna Park hosts live shows and workshops for children. The park’s vegetation includes around 5000 small trees in scale with the main attractions.
Via Popilia, 239, 47922 Rimini RN
Named after Rome’s iconic film studios, this theme park brings visitors into the world of Italian cinema and TV. Its themed areas range from Ancient Rome to science fiction, also including an indoor snow park with four different attractions. A submarine walk-through, the dark ride ‘Inferno’, and a ten-inversion rollercoaster are among the rides available, as well a supersplash set in the middle of a naval battle where Anthony and Cleopatra faced the Republic of Rome. The programme of live shows is among the highlights of the park, and the flying theatre ‘Volarium’ provides a whole new way of experiencing cinema.
Via di Castel Romano, 200, 00128 Roma RM
Parco della Preistoria
Parco della Preistoria is an educational park located 25 km away from Milan. The detailed reproductions of prehistorical scenes punctuate the park’s itinerary, which cuts through an ancient woodland next to the river Adda. Dinosaurs are the main attraction, but other prehistoric species are also featured in the around 50 installations. A botanical path provides information about the area’s rich flora, while a labyrinth and a palaeontology museum are also included. While there are no thrill rides, Parco della Preistoria makes an interesting day out for families touring the region.
Viale Ponte Vecchio, 21, 26027 Rivolta d’ Adda CR
Acropark Rio Centa
The region of Trentino Alto Adige boasts some of the best mountain scenery in Italy, which this adventure park combines with fun-filled activities for both children and adults. The treetop treks range in difficulty from ‘very easy’ to ‘difficult’, the latter suited only to the bravest visitors. Another option is the ‘Big Circle’, a sequence of ziplines offering a spectacular overview of the whole area. The river Centa flows next to park, and hiking paths are available to further explore its valley. Acropark runs another similar park in the Veneto region.
SP108, 38040 Altopiano della Vigolana TN
(Acropark Laghetto Roana – Via Laghetto, 69, 36010 Roana VI)